Bag People, we are.
My brain is flat and all the planets and Sun revolve around it.
Wow, it’s already March, but I’m going to talk about new year resolutions. I don’t do them. I think when it’s time to make a change; it’s time to make a change, regardless of the day of the year. But this year, I ended up adding some new routines to help me through the transition into my next life adventure. The timing perfectly aligned with the New Year.
First, I started reading the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The first assignment in her program to unlocking your blocked creativity is writing daily pages. Now, I’ve always been crappy at journaling. I’ve tend to start a journal and then stop after a few days when I get lazy or can’t force myself to think of something to write. I’ve heard of the benefit of journaling but it was never enough to motivate me to do it. But this time has been very different. The rules of the daily pages are to write 3 pages of whatever is on my mind. No censoring, no editing, no worrying, no perfection, and no grammar editor whispering in my head. Just let it flow. And if I can’t think of anything to write, I must write. I am writing my 3 pages of morning pages until I find something to write.
Honestly, I’ve had no issue whatsoever finding the words to write. I just dump out everything that is swirling around in my head, and many times that quiet negative-nelly voice hits the page as well. Once the words have been written on the page, I can let them go and let my mind move on to more enjoyable and creative endeavors. These daily morning pages have become my morning meditation. The morning pages also helped me make sense of the transition I wanted to go through and come to terms with moving to Utah. These pages are cathartic and really bring clarity to my thoughts. Yet, these are personal pages so I’m using them to unload my mind and grow my soul. (Plus, I have all those partially filled journals to use for my daily pages :))
Second, I started my Create Daily doodles (#createdaily). These are inspired by my artist friend, Molly. I even bought one of Molly’s illustrations “Make Something Every Day” to remind myself to explore my creativity every day.
I use these doodles to learn how to draw new things and see what ideas are lurking in my brain. They don’t have to look finished or perfect. I am free with these doodles and draw whatever I’m thinking or feeling. Sometimes I’m also try to figure out a shape or form for one of my paintings. But there are no rules to what I draw and no worries about the end result. I do share these doodles because they show the world how I’m starting to explore my creativity. Plus, the doodles make me happy and I want to share the joy. These are a few of my create daily doodles I’ve posted to Instagram to share with the world.
So, since the New Year, I’ve started two new routines that clear my mind and help me explore my creativity. I thought I would have even more time for my creative work when I moved to Utah, but getting settled and starting to work again has definitely taken up some of the hours of my day. But I’m not in a hurry, and the paintings and writings I’m planning will all come to fruition as my journey continues. I’m just glad that I’ve found these daily routines that connect to my creative self since I’m not in complete control of the timeline for my life. I’m learning to go more with the flow, and my daily pages and daily doodles are key to finding that flow.
The tempest has made herself known
She calls you in with crystal blue clarity and radiant sunlight
Her beauty blinds you to the danger as she screams down the mountain
First, your little birdhouse loses the shingles off the roof
Then, a tree falls and crushes the walls and the ice cold wind swirls within
The tempest blasts your little birdhouse apart
She knows her power and tricks you to trust her
But all she really wants is to blow your soul apart
I’ve been such a blogging slacker lately, but I really need to give myself a break. I totally went through with my plans and packed up and moved back to Utah. I’ll admit it was an emotional decision for me to make and that added to the stress of moving. But I worked through all though issues and made a huge, but incredible change in the direction of my life.
Maybe it would have made it easier to go through the change if I’d been writing publicly about it and sharing the story. But I needed that extra energy just to get everything packed up and moved in less than two weeks and then to get set up in my parents house when I made it back to Utah. I’m happy to announce that on Tuesday, I will have been back in Utah for 4 weeks and I’m starting to feel settled. That’s why I feel like I’m ready to get back to my writing, even though I’ve left you hanging for the last 6 weeks!
I’ve already shared why I came to the decision of why it was time for me to leave the Bay Area and return to my home town. But I had to deal with some emotional baggage before I could happily return. I thought a lot about if I was giving up by moving home or if I was failing because I finally decided I couldn’t make it their. But honestly moving back to Utah was never going to be giving up or failure. It was just making a change to support my new path of life. The real failure was my ego, which I had to get into check.
Ten years and a half years ago when I left Utah, I’d just finished my Master’s degree and I was ready to rebel agains all the oppressive norms I felt growing up in Utah. I wanted show that a woman could go from small city Utah and have some high-power career, where I would take care of myself, and live the fabulous city life as seen on TV. When I had my career, I felt like I was looking back at all the sexist people in Utah who expect women to just have kids and not care about their career, and telling them to shove it. I built my ego up and made myself feel better because I thought I was better than Utah. (I apologize to all my friends I love in Utah. I never thought anything bad about you. This was all about me and my ego. But I totally deserve your criticism for my small-mindedness.)
So I was going back to Utah, which for the longest time I thought I was just too damn good for. Luckily, I was able to start to see the good things about Utah. Plus, I’ve been working on myself for long enough that I can do a good battle with my ego and get it to let go of my thinking and how I define my self value. But still I admit my failure to get such a California ego that I had no problem trashing my roots and closing me off to the good things about Utah and Ogden.
I had my bestie constantly asking me if I was happy and sure I was making the right decision. I really knew moving home was the best decision. I was nervous because I was giving up all I had known for the last 10 years. Minus, the ego problem, I really did feel that I grew into myself in California. I was coming back a different person and I didn’t want to lose that. I also tend to worry when I should be focusing on the excitement about change. So happy was going to be a bit out in the distance for me.
But even with fighting my mental baggage, I did it. I moved to Utah and I couldn’t be happier. I’m starting to settle into a routine. I’ve gone back to working part time doing contract work. I’ve still got time for my creative endeavors. Yes, it’s different to live in Ogden. It definitely is not as social as the Bay Area, where people can go out most nights for food and drink. But I’ve been learning how to cook and making dinner for my parents instead of going to my regular watering hole. I also found a cafe for me to enjoy and work from, which carries on some of how I lived in California. Kaffe Mercantile has definitely treated me well. Plus, I get to see my dear friends that I had missed so much from living so far away.
So with almost a month under my belt here in Ogden, I can say I’m happy. This was absolutely the best move for me and I’m glad I found the courage to make the change. I do apologize for my Ego and being so anti-Utah for so long. But I’m here now to really discover the good things about my home town, and since I’m coming back as a new person, I hope my eyes will see things with a positive and open perspective.
My road trip really became a defining moment for me in 2014. When I started the journey, I had hoped it would change me. I was honestly worried I wouldn’t grow as much since my Dad was crashing the journey. However, I was so totally wrong. I grew in ways I am just starting to understand.
I know it’s easy to say that there is so much more to life than just your job, but a road trip really drives that point home. I saw where the mountains stretch out into prairies, where grand rivers come to life, GMO corn that even the crows won’t touch. I met fabulous people from all over the country who were always supportive. They would always say, “I would love to do that some day, to see the world.” My response was always to do it, it’s worth every penny. But now I’ve gotten at taste that there is something so much more out there and bigger than me in this world.
The journey opened me up to my creative nature which I had been suppressing since I was young child. The freedom of the journey, being able to write about the experience, to take photographs of all the amazing things I was seeing just exploded out of me.
But I’m also not ready to stop traveling and exploring. I caught a nasty bug on the trip, I caught the travel bug. Now, you might think I already had it, but not I just liked traveling. The journey made travel become part of who I am. It is of my essence of how I see the world and want to explore. Sitting in Oakland, I crave the journey and wanting to discover something new. I still wander here, but it’s not the same. I definitely have wanderlust.
The third thing I felt on the journey was that I just let life flow and I allowed myself to experience the trip. I wasn’t worried about money, the next project I needed to complete, the food I needed to nourish myself, the exercises I needed to get just to manage the stress, and the loneliness from living alone in a big city. I could take all that energy and just put it into the enjoyment of my travels.
The journey was spurred by me being laid off after 10 years at SAP. I had a wonderful run at SAP where I got to see the world and work with absolutely incredible people. But it was also a huge amount of work. I was almost always on the edge of burnout. The stress even made me sick with an illness that still has not been defined but can cause me much grief.
I have absolutely no issue with losing my job. Things run their course and business is business, but the major change and the road trip really gave me an opportunity to really examine my values and what I wanted in life. I’ve already written about my next chapter in my 2014 review so I won’t bore you with the details here.
I came back to Oakland after the holidays enjoying a wonderful time with my family and friends. I thought I was really ready to get back to the grind a find a new job. I had planned to work in Oakland for two more years so I could use the money to take acting and art classes. But I honestly started to look at my reprioritized values. Should I really stay here just to work and make money and delay the start of going after my dreams? Honestly, just affording to live in the Bay Area is stress enough. I would need to work just to making living here remain possible. But I quickly discovered that I’m still burnt out and not managing stress well. I don’t really feel read to go back to the corporate world I left.
I’m also really grateful for my life and all I get to do and have accomplished. However, just like the studies on Facebook say, my life is not always as rosey as what it might see if you only see my travels. I definitely don’t want any pity, this is just a moment of me sharing what makes me vulnerable.
When I left Utah 10 years ago, I had hopes of living the big life, having a great job, hanging with fantastic friends, and finding a great boyfriend. I honestly left Ogden with only the skills to have great job. I did not have any real social skills moving here, and I was leaving behind all that I knew and understood. I was just going to fight through and figure out how to fit in. Let’s just say I made a huge amount of progress in that 10 years. However, I’ve remained single the entire time and never really started to build roots.
I came out here to make it on my own and I did. I was strong and independent. Yes, I had support and friends but nothing like what I had left in Utah, and I really never was able to build that same level of support. For example, who did I have to help me financially when I got sick if I had to stop working. No one but me. It’s way too expensive here for me to ask my parents for help. So yes, I’ve been really lonely, I’ve worried if I could do it on my own, and I’ve carried that burden on my shoulders. I didn’t mind for many years, I’m stubborn and good at fighting. However, the road trip showed me how nice it was not to fight. I felt supported.
So now I’m the cliff about to jump into my next adventure. An adventure to explore my creativity and see if I can make those dreams happen. These are dreams that I’ve denied for years with thoughts like you can’t make money, you can’t take care of yourself, you need to have a powerful career, you need to be focused on science, you need to prove to all those damn sexist mormons that you can do anything. Wow, I’ve done great living up to those expectations and exceeding them, but honestly I don’t want to do it anymore.
Its time for me to dream big and see what I’m really capable of doing. But to do that, I need to stop being strapped by expenses of living in the Bay Area and I need a support system with a bit more depth than what I’ve built here. So good bye to that Bay Area chapter of my life. I’m so content with my life and grateful for the growth and experience you’ve brought me. However, I’m moving on.
Moving on in a way I thought never possible. My goals remain the same that I will move to Portland within the next two years to become a working artist and actor. However, I’m taking a little detour and moving back to Utah until I can get my parents to move to Portland. This hasn’t been the easiest decision especially since I said I could never live in Utah again. But with new priorities, being with my parents and some of my closest lifelong friends I have a support group to help me grow to the next stage. Plus, I can get a dog!
So Ogden friends, this is my announcement, I’m coming back to join you. For my Bay Area friends, I love you! I will miss you, but damn it I could visit monthly for less than I pay in rent. But my journey would not have been what it was with out you and for this I’m so grateful.
If you want to know about timing, I’m not one to move slow when I make decisions. There are still a few details to work out, but this change is going to happen very fast. But the craziest part of this all, is that I would never be writing this blog without my road trip. For that, I’m unbelievable grateful!
Wow, I’m almost a bit is shock that 2014 is over since the year went by so fast. I’m also stunned by what all happened last year. To really understand the impact, I want to go back to my New Year’s post from last year.
“I cannot think about what I plan for 2014, without going back to 2004. 2004 was the year that changed everything and sent me down the path to bring me to today. My gratefulness for 2004 is beyond words.
In 2004, I decided not to pursue a PhD, completed my masters, packed my bags and moved to California, started to work at SAP on TechEd and SCN, and threw off all the small town girl projections to overcome all the fears of making it on my own!
In the last decade, I have thrown away so much baggage just to become a world traveler. I don’t do resolutions, but I’m so excited about what I will make 2014 become!” January 2, 2014
I guess in my heart I was really expecting big things in 2014 since I had just completed a pretty mind-boggling decade in California. But it took making a ton of changes in 2004 to create that next decade of growth. Even when I wrote that post, I think I knew big changes were on their way. I just had no idea how big 2014 was going to turn out to be.
Even way back at that early point in the year, I already new my career was up in the air. I had a good sense that the team I was on had no idea what to do with my skills and talents. At first this scared the shit out of me, but really what it did was give me a lot of time to think. And thinking was exactly what I needed to explore what the next stage of my life would be.
2004 was a time that I set new goals. I was going to start a corporate career, I wanted to travel, and I wanted to live in San Francisco. By 2014 I had accomplished all quite successfully. Honestly, I’d been so busy in that decade, I really hadn’t had any time to come up with new goals. I was just living life and absolutely enjoying the ride.
But after a decade, it was probably time to come up with some new goals and life plans. Thank goodness, 2014 provided me the time to soul search and plan, so I now have new goals to help drive the next decade of my life.
Even with all that time for thinking, 2014 was a huge year for me. Most of you who’ve read my blog all ready know about the road trip, so I don’t want to spend all the time on the details. However, here is my list 2014 major life events.
Go to Germany to pass on the battalion of my old position. Get to spend time to the team I’ve spent my last 10 years working with and honor that they’ve become friends rather than just colleagues.
Start write poetry again which I hadn’t really done since I was an undergrad.
Do my first audition since high school with San Francisco Neo-Futurists.
I did my first live poetry reading.
Explore southern Utah National Parks Bryce Canyon and Zion with my Dad.
Go flyfishing twice on the Madison River in Montana and visit Yellowstone National Park. Also fall in love with Ennis, Montana.
Rediscover my love of painting and drawing at a wine and painting class at a farewell for my colleague Erica
I traveled and spent time with the people I love that don’t live near.
After living in San Francisco for three years, I’ve satisfied my dream of living in San Francisco and it’s time to say goodbye. I move to Oakland and my cost of living drops significantly, which was a huge blessing for what was about to come.
I get laid off from SAP after 10 years. It’s the only job I’ve had since I finished my masters and moved to California. So absolutely guaranteed, big changes are happening. This is a blessing in disguise and I’m not really unsettled by it, since I already had plenty of time to think and plan 🙂
Within 2 days of being laid off, I know for sure that I am going on a cross-country road trip.
Linda and I go on our freedom camping trip to Yosemite. But I extend and do my first ever solo camping trip in Mammouth Mountain.
I keep painting and drawing and writing.
I prep for the cross-country road trip, which includes planning how I’m going to use the trip as a creative journey.
I start my blog crellim.com
I drive by myself across Nevada to get to my parents house to start the road trip.
The Road Trip – Crellim’s Cross-Country Adventure: 3 months of traveling across the country. 47 days camping in the car, 4 days in a hotel, and 22 days staying with family and friends not including my parents house.
I get home to Oakland having only been there for 2 months out of the 6 I’ve lived there. I decompress the trip by going through all my photos.
I start to look for a new job for 2015
I return to Utah to spend the holidays with my family.
Yup, I don’t ever use this word, but I definitely think 2014 was an EPIC year for me. Crazy that with such a full year, I was still able to come with the goals for the next decade of my life.
There is one thing that I really learned about myself and it will now drive my life going forward. My whole life I’ve been suppressing my creative urges and needs. I had chosen a path were I focused on spreadsheets and emails. But honestly I doubted I could be creative enough. When I was young I would always say, I love to paint and draw, but I just don’t know what I should paint and draw. I wanted to be an actor but I can’t sing, so I didn’t go after it. So it was my own mental block that kept me from going after my creative goals.
My creativity would crack through to remind me it was hiding there, but this year with all the change it just exploded out of me. I also came to the realization, that I don’t need as much material goods in my life as others. I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t own a house. I don’t have others I have to take care of. So maybe I could go after my creative dreams because I don’t need as much money to survive.
So here are the goals that I’m striving for in the next stage!
- Only work in the corporate world for 2-3 more years so I can save money
- Taking acting and painting classes
- Move to Portland
- Buy a house with my parents
- Get two dogs (not random, absolutely critical to my success)
- Keep painting and writing
- Sell paintings and photography
- Become a working actor
I’m so happy of what I’ve accomplished from 2004 – 2014. I’m completely grateful that 2014 set the stage for what I want to become in the next decade of my life. I’m ready to jump right in and live this life completely!
I love art in all its forms. I’ve studied the arguments about what makes fine art versus mass art, and I think they are all a bunch of hogwash. I’ve loved art that the person next to me is saying “you call that art”. Art is so damn subjective, I’m going to leave it at I love all art and try to avoid the conversation of what really constitutes as art.
Even though I’m avoiding this art argument, I am going to make an argument for my favorite kind of art and why it makes my heart sing.
The Bean! (Cloud Gate, Anish Kapoor)
Now, I’m not from Chicago. I don’t know the overall impact that the “Cloud Gate” created by Anish Kapoor with it’s endearing Bean nickname has left on Chicago. But on my road trip, the Bean completely changed my relationship with art and how I think about it. So let’s get my view on the Bean straight out in the open. I’m in love with the Bean. It is the epitome for art that I will hope to strive.
I’m sure one of you reading this right now, especially my San Francisco friends who disdain anything touristy, are questioning my sanity. The Bean is tourist trap numero uno for Chicago, and I join those tourists in their chorus of praise. Luckily for me, in Utah or in NorCal, I could give a rats ass about trying to make sure that I like the right things to fit in, and I won’t ever be ashamed of my love of touristy things.
Back to the Bean – on the day my Dad and I visited, it had been raining all morning and the sky was still cloudy. However, that did not keep the visitors away. The platform the Bean rests upon was crowded with families, couples, and kids from all over the world. Almost everyone out their had their phones out and were taking selfies with the Bean. Oh crap, art that makes you want to take a selfie with it! I’m reading my Facebook feed now and see friends complaining about the lameness of the selfie. Shit, double negative whammy for the Bean – tourist trap and selfie magnet. Yet, my love still burns so very bright for this magical Bean.
Dad and I joined right in with the pictures and seeing what kind of reflections we could get from the Bean. We didn’t act any better than anyone else out there, and didn’t let the nature of the tourist trap keep us from truly enjoying the Bean. But I would say this also allowed us to experience the Bean’s true nature, the reason it wrapped itself around my heart, and made me fall in love.
Even before experiencing the Bean, my relationship with art has been focused more on experiencing art rather than just a passive voyeur consuming art. Art even in sculpture, painting, photography, is a performance that tells a story. This story will always place art where it fits into culture and society. The Bean has perfected this performance of art.
I don’t think it’s possible to just go see the Bean and look at it. The Bean calls you in, and it enters into a relationship with you. The Bean reflects yourself right back at you, but in a very different way. When playing around the Bean, even when taking all those selfies, it is really a dance with the Bean.
I still haven’t explained why I love the Bean. I’ve so far just hinted at it. It’s not just that the Bean creates a relationship with you when you visit and you become part of the art. It’s that this relationship creates joy and happiness. Visiting the Bean was one of the most happy stops on our trip. I loved watching all the people interacting with the Bean and taking photos. Everyone was laughing, and making silly poses and faces. The Bean is a piece of art that makes the viewer or participant experience joy. The Bean makes the people visiting it play! Not just with the sculpture but also with each other. It is this ability of The Bean that makes people play and feel joyous is the reason I’m absolutely in love with it. It’s also now what I hope to create with my art.
I’ll be honest that I haven’t seen many sculptures, paintings, or fixed art objects that have had this ability to create the interactive relationship of the Bean that then creates joy and makes people want to play. Art definitely creates an emotional reaction, and my preference is for art that makes me feel good. And I do understand the power of art that makes you feel other things. But typically it is only emotion that is stirred, at most maybe I’ve cried. For joy and play, it usually comes from music, performance art, and improvisation theater. The Bean creates interaction and relationship that is performed on that platform. It is not merely a static sculpture. The Bean is constantly in change and morphing as each different person is reflected in it’s metallic skin. The people playing with the Bean become part of the art.
I could have sat at the Bean for hours watching all the visitors play with the Bean. It was such an amazing experience to see all that joy and play. So now as I start exploring my creative path, the Bean is shaping my experience and my hopes for my art. Luckily, the Bean was not the only encounter of this type of art on my journey.
In the Little Italy neighborhood of New York City, I found a street art mural of angel wings called What Lifts You from Kelsey Montague. People will posing in front of the wings and taking photos. Again, people were laughing and interacting with the art. It was the way the wings were painted that called people in and invited them to pose. I wanted my photo in front of the wings but my Dad was too impatient for me to wait in line that long. But once again the piece got me thinking about my art; how do I create art that invites people to interact with it and find joy?
What Lifts You, Kelsey Montague
I’m just beginning again on my creative journey, and exploring how I can translate my vision of the world into art. However, I’m grateful that I’ve already found such a tenet to guide the development of my artistic vision. I admit I’m overwhelmed about how I will create art that brings joy and makes people play. But I’m so happy this type of art already exists and is spreading it’s joy.
On one last note, I’m also reminded by a photo instructor that recommend to never try to take the perfect shot of a place when traveling and don’t worry about the people in the picture. Rather, embrace the people, embrace your travel companions, and embrace yourself in the picture. What makes travel photos unique and special is to include yourself or your companions in the photo. I think this advice is true for all art. The museum experience seems to keep you distanced from the art with it hung on walls high up with wires or steps keeping you from getting close. But you can find that perfect picture already take online or in a book. Isn’t it better to throw yourself into the mix and interact with the art? From now on, I will remember that sometimes art like the Bean just calls me in to play, but other art that’s a bit more static requires me to step up my game and be the one to initiate the play.
So the month after returning home from my road trip, I spent editing photos from the trip to create Christmas presents. The journey was such a huge part of my life this year, that I wanted to share a piece of that journey with the people I love.
However, I know there are many of you who’ve said they would also like to get some of my photos from the journey. I’ve made a calendar from my photos taken at National Parks across the country. I have about 10 calendars left after Christmas, which I’m hoping to sell. The calendars are printed in think card stock and are 8.5 x 10 images. I’m selling the calendars for $25.00 each which includes shipping or delivery. If you’d like to buy a calendar, please comment on this blog with your email and I’ll send you the details on how to pay with PayPal.
Here are the images that are included in the calendar:
Many Glaciers, Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier National Park, Montana
Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming
Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Badlands National Park, South Dakota
Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine
Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, Maine
Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina and Tennessee
Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Arches National Park, Utah
Delicate Arch, Arches National Park, Utah
Canyonlands National Park, Utah